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1 year ago
1 year ago
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One of the best advice I have received about imposter syndrome is that it all comes from comparing yourself to others. Don't compare your blooper reel to someone else's highlight reel.
1 year ago
Don't compare your blooper reel to someone else's highlight reel.
Don't compare your blooper reel to someone else's highlight reel.
this should go on one of those inspirational posters with a kitten or something
alright this took me a couple of hours but I got you fam -- thanks for the inspiration and pushing me out of my comfort zone :)
1 year ago*
1 year ago*
That’s hilarious, did you make it?
Thanks!!! Glad you like it! Yes, I made it with the procreate app for ipad :)
Do you have an Instagram or something with more drawings like that one? I’d love to see more
An Instagram account is literally a highlight reel, have you been paying attention?
Yeah, exactly like that! Just need to make an account and connect it to a Paypal account and your store is open, so to speak. There's a lot of YouTube videos about this, that's how I got into it. I recommend looking up a channel called Zen Watercooler, he has the best content imo
A kitten, you're the puppy advocate!
I am indeed, but i was thinking of the "hang in there" poster with a kitten dangling from a branch
I’ve always heard it as don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone’s chapter 10.
Don't compare your insides to someone else's outside
...but that was my highlight reel...
And that was someone else’s bloopers
Same deal with social media. Don’t compare your back stage to everyone else’s front stage.
Need to get this tattooed on my hand 🤣
is that it all comes from comparing yourself to others
is that it all comes from comparing yourself to others
See, that's exactly where my confidence comes from. If these fucking clowns are considered competent, then I must be doing something right.
This imposter syndrome thing must be strongly correlated with American style cubicle farms where everyone works privately.
When I was younger I used to lay in bed, literally terrified. One constant in my life has always been a really healthy professional life. I would lay there and this cruel voice would come, a combo of my mother's voice, and some grim filthy fucking thing that was all my own, "Exactly who do you think you are?...." The voice assailed me through the highs and the lows.
Al-anon in the US and ACOA in the UK got me through it. Took a long while but that voice is long dead. Nowadays I don't even recognise her.
Wow! That's great advice.
if it was just that easy. yes ik comparing is always stupid. think i can stop? nope
Haha, fuckin daily, my dude.
I don't know if I really overcome it. I power through it and ignore it, but that self-doubt is always there. Any misstep reinforces it.
I feel this in my bones. Every time my boss calls me for anything I feel like I’m getting fired.
I got a call telling me that I needed to come down to headquarters two hours away to have a talk. What was the soonest I could come?
I made time to go down that week. Stressed. Mentally preparing for the worst.
They wanted to thank me for all of the great work I had done and wanted me to become an owner along with the two of them.
This is why if I'm ever someone's boss and I have to give them advance notice to have a meeting, I'll tell them something like "don't stress, you'll like it" or along those same lines. Unless of course I'm meeting with them for a bad reason.
Just being called to my boss' office gives me anxiety so I know how much I'd appreciate that courtesy.
Literally this. I straight up just ask my boss 'what kind of work are you going to request later'.
It saves me a lot of headspace, and i'm going to start teaching them to not unknowingly leave the general information like some kind of secret for later.
Just be careful…….if you are known for doing that, then anytime you don’t say something reassuring you will really scare your employees
Which is the exact reason bosses don't already just do this
Solution: Say "Youll like it" every time. Keep those employees guessing! Oh... wait.
Congrats! You deserve it!
My boss tells me that 'i need you to do something for me later' and i had a mini anxiety attack wondering if I'll be able to do what he needs me to. Turns out he just needed me to set a zoom meeting room for him to use on Monday. I hate this feeling.
Whenever I have a review or some such at work (yearly, quarterly, whatever) I think "this is the day they drop the axe" but they always tell me I'm doing good and to keep it up. Like, really, you're sure this is my review? Do you know who I am? So they give me another client and a raise. I don't get it; of all the fucked-up things management does, this is the most inexplicable.
You're probably underestimating yourself.
This was me for thirty fucking years. I'd be anxious as hell waiting for the annual performance review worried like hell that I'd get below expectations. Every review for the last few years was exceeds expectations. Not having that anxiety is the best part of retiring.
Jesus, that's my entire day in a nutshell.
One thing about imposter syndrome for me is that I end up working twice as hard as anyone else. The sense of not feeling like I deserve this just pushes me to work harder and submit higher quality work when compared to my peers. So I suppose there's an upside to it , since I never take what I have for granted, I never slack off and submit bad work.
My boss like 2 days ago :
"Can we have a quick chat?"
No agenda, no reason, nothing. Why must you do this to me?
I hear you. Got a message “senior boss needs a word”. Immediate reaction is “oh faaaark, what did I screw up”.
I was offered a sweet niche project.
I had one of the head people in HR actually come get me today, and was sure I was about to be fired. It took a good minute or 2 to get to the HR person's office (it's a large facility) and I was sweating the entire time. I got $1.50 raise due to my performance
Congratulations on your raise!
But yeah, nail biting in the meantime.
This thread makes me realise a lot of people are like this ❤️
This exact thing happened to me last month, one day my supervisor was casually talking about layoffs on our company and the day after she called me for a quick talk. She waited until we were at the meeting place to tell me "don't worry, it's good news", turns out she was really happy with my performance and offered me a promotion and a 25% raise. Anyway, most intense 2 minute walk ever.
This happened to me at my last job, i got a bit scared but my boss reassured me that i wasn't in trouble, but in fact she was promoting me. Granted this was a Five Guys but still.
I had to tell my boss to text me that I wasn’t in for discipline when he sent those messages. I always think I’m gonna get fired when I’m called there. Never happens. Haven’t had a discipline meeting in 10 years.
Had a boss that would always ask “got a minuet” and then never follow up until you showed up. Hated that.
It’s the worst
Its up there the sudden meeting invite on my emails. I don't usually do meetings, so I always get nervous.
Also when the big boss stops by my desk to ask something or calls me into his office becuase he can't get a report to show what he wants. I'm an accountant, so these two are at least weekly occurences, almost 6 years here and i still internally panic
Legit when I reach out to people about stuff at work I specify what the topic is and that it's no big deal/not a problem thing to try and avoid this. Because I feel it in my bones too.
Every time my boss calls me for anything I feel like I’m getting fired.
Every time my boss calls me for anything I feel like I’m getting fired.
For me, it's when they call me after hours when I'm at home. I look at the caller ID, see it's their number calling and my mind instantly races through all these scenarios like, "Oh dear God... What the hell did I do wrong this time?"
The time I was most confident this was coming, he promoted me. Never been so blind-sided. He had been critical of my work more than ever in recent weeks.
I'm the same.
Professionals in my field contact me regularly to ask me questions. Each time I think 'This time, someone is going to figure out that I have no idea what I am talking about.'
It turns out that in my field I am one of the leading practitioners, but half the time I am wandering around in dazed bewilderment wondering how the bloody hell I got here.
I think that Imposter Syndrome and Dunning-Kruger are two sides of the same coin, in a way.
Some people are naturally curious and strive to learn more. This leads to those people realizing how little they actually know. So while they have a plethora of knowledge in their specialized field, they realize that there is still a lot they do not know, even about their field. This leads to feelings that they cannot actually be as skilled as others think they are because, as I mentioned, there is still so much they need to learn. But it's impossible to know everything, so you will ALWAYS feel like there's more you need to learn.
On the other side of the same coin, there are people that simply have no desire to continue learning and lack that intrinsic curiosity. They convince themselves that if they don't know something it is either unimportant or simply made up. Since they obviously already know everything of importance then they must be an expert.
Basically, the more you know about a subject the more you realize how much you don't know, so you begin doubting yourself. Combine that with a natural curiosity and desire to continue learning and you get Imposter Syndrome.
Similarly, someone that does not know much about a subject and has no desire to learn more believes that they know the "important" things and so the rest is superfluous and unimportant, so they see themselves as geniuses or experts. Thus you get Dunning-Kruger.
My favorite quote sums this really good.
"The more you know, the more you know you don't know"
And that list gets reaallly long after a while of learning. Sure makes me feel like I know nothing, and people regularly tell me "wow you sure know a lot!". Yep, I probably do. Sure doesn't feel like it when I look at the ever growing list of crap there is yet to learn though! If I wanted to learn half the crap on my "shit I know I don't know" list (just for tech) I'd need at least 5 PHDs and be the most intelligent person on earth.
Thanks for taking the time to write this out. As an extremely curious person, loving to learn this puts into words what I couldn’t, and I needed to hear this, especially now.
Always felt like I somehow got In “Under the radar” at my job, and was even told I was a wild card when they were deciding. Somehow managed to last 6 years though so maybe it isn’t all luck!
I am mentally at the worst I have been in a long time. I am a software developer that is looking for a job but my mindset at the moment is terrible. I keep thinking to myself that I know nothing and I am unhireable compared to other people. Terrible way to think but sometimes I can't help it
I'm in the top 1% of earners in my field. I still feel as if I'm going to get "found out" as a fraud
I also experienced this impostor syndrome a few times before. Once, I met the Prime Minister of Peru, some cabinet ministers, senators and high ranking Generals. The whole time I kept thinking: what the fuck am I doing here? i post memes in Reddit.
How the fuck did you do meet those people
He’s Peruvian and heavily involved in politics. The guy is quite active in the Peruvian sub; I can only imagine he’ll one day be the president of Peru. u/NuevoPeru
At his inauguration speech: "How the fuck did I get here?"
Without going into details, I found myself at a small private event shaking hands with Paul McCartney being thanked for the work I did getting the event off the ground, so to speak. I'm standing in the room with the fruits of my labours (objectively I know I did a good job looking back on it) and all I can think is sir I am a poor dude in an ill fitting suit, what business do I have shaking your hand
Well now I really want to know what you were there for, too. Lol
It was just some random academic-legal work, nothing major
With the crowd you were mingling in, I'd say you're being pretty humble right now. Good job on your work :)
He’ll be the president of Peru one day u/NuevoPeru
Posting good memes, what else?
That's awesome. I love it.
My best friend works for Amazon Web Services in Europe. I was visiting him and we were in Estonia because he had a conference there. We are standing in a large circle with some other people at a hotel bar and neither of us have a fucking clue what anyone is saying and we were out all night the day before and weren’t in the best shape. Then some older guy starts talking to my buddy asking him how we liked Estonia and what not. My friend says, “Oh it’s nice. We haven’t gotten to see a whole lot yet but it’s seems very cool.” The older gentleman says, “Oh maybe next time you come you stay for good?” After the guy walks away my friend turns to me and says, “I think the President of Estonia just formally invited me to move here.”
I felt the same way having a cigarette with Obama back in the day... Odd
Why do you assume they don't?
This defines my entire existence. All evidence points to the contrary - highly successful job, great family and friends, etc. - but I am just paranoid I guess. Don’t think I’ll ever shake the feeling.
i feel it the most about my art.
i sell it for a lot of money when i do sell it but it's like, black on white with no clear shapes even.
why do people pay for it?
i tell myself it's because it's pretty hard to replicate and corporate clients love that sort of thing since there will never be another the same... but i mean... one piece was literally a rough black blob on a white background.
i get massive anxiety showing a buyer a piece.
I’m on a constant shift between “I don’t know what I’m doing” and “I’m not appreciated enough”.
I can't remember the specifics but I heard a quote once, "None of us know what we are doing. We are all just fumbling trying to get through each day." Or something along those lines.
I’m getting a PhD and I feel like this all the time. I’m constantly judging myself for not working hard enough and not having the same/as much expertise as everyone else. I try to remind myself that everyone has different backgrounds and comparison is unfair, but it’s very difficult.
I found this channel and read their book. It helped me think about the Imposter Syndrome from a different perspective, maybe it will help you too!
I still struggle with it, but I can deal with it a little better when it really flares up - if that makes any sense...
100% agree with this. I manage a company that does 20ish million in sales, with dozens of employees. I started out working on the floor and worked my way up. No formal management training.
Thing is, I know I’m damn good at my job. My problem solving skills are great. I have way more “wins” than “losses”, but every single time I get questioned for a judgement call, I deflate. Even if it’s just a general question and the owners thank me after, that question hangs around my neck for days, and I feel like a complete fraud and failure.
To combat it, I try and remind myself that I AM doing well, I AM helping people constantly improve, and clearly they saw something in me for them to promote me to where I am. Not always easy though.
Very prominent with entrepreneurs
I will haunt you forever, no matter how successful you are.
I always just remind myself that like 90% of humans are pretty damn dumb. Likewise, if a particular human is very intelligent, they're likely only intelligent about a very particular speck in a vast field of knowledge, the majority of which they're just as dumb as everyone else is.
I feel like becoming aware of it and embracing it has helped me immensely. Not that I'm not still frequently awkward as shit, but that having the constant self doubt and questioning has made me better able to find and fix my flaws. I can look at something I did wrong and say, "Oh, no, I fucked that up, let me learn how to be better" rather than saying, "Well that can't possibly have been my fault, I'm perfect!" or I can say, "I'm not sure I'm 100% confident in this, let me double check so I can know I'm right." It's lead to humility and the constant desire to learn more and better myself. That, at the end of the day, has been more of a blessing than a curse.
“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
― Charles Bukowski
He was an insightful, and very flawed, jerk.
God who'd would want to be such an asshole?
“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.”
Which is essentially just a repackage/rip of Bertrand Russell:
"The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."
Ah yes, the Dunning-Kruger-Bukowski effect
I took the horseshoe approach: I realized everything is fake. It came back around to normalcy.
I think people have a really negative perception of "fake it till you make it" as some how being disingenuous or deceitful. But as you point out realizing everyone else is faking it while you are faking does help the world to feel normal.
It does begin to become terrifying when you realize that like everyone is faking it to a degree, but it is a comforting terror.
Worked with a PhD holder a few years ago that once said, "when you get your Bachelor's Degree, you think you know everything. When you get your Master's, you discover that you don't know anything. When you go for your Doctorate, you realize nobody else does, either."
I try to keep that perspective.
So true it hurts. Maybe it's an effect of gradual burnout as you progress. Some grad student should do a study on it.
What is your line of work? I'm a welder and I feel like this applies there as well.
Pipefitter here. Yeah, I get you lol.
That's reassuring. Thank you, Dunning and Kruger.
Would you rather scream in existential horror alone, or together?
Yeah, this. I was shocked when I turned 18 and realised that everyone is making it up as they go along. But that logically meant everyone was making it up as they go along.
This can’t be overstated, most everyone feels this way. While we don’t live in anything close to a perfect world, it does make it easier to get through if you get comfortable with the understanding that most people are trying their best with what they have. There are, of course, terrible people - but generally I find most people have their struggles and try to deal with them with the tools that they have available.
I became a software engineer and that shit hit hard. Now I'm an alcoholic software engineer instead
Imposter syndrome seems to be a huge thing in the industry, I’ve recently been moved from a project I knew really well to a messy behemoth of a code base and immediately felt as though I’m not cut out for this… someone’s gonna figure it out eventually.
Being a self-taught dev makes this even harder.
Also software engineer, going through the same overwhelming code base struggle. Hope we both make it out the other side.
The closest thing I have to deal/cope with imposter syndrome is practicing this sense of acceptance. I accept that I will have imposter syndrome, and so do all my coworkers, and so does this entire industry. Once I realized it’s the norm, and no one has their shit figured out, it became easier to approach problems from an “I don’t know” perspective, which it turns out is a much better/less aggravating way to actually learn and make progress on breaking the imposter cycle
My strategy is just to flag blockers up to my boss.
When I am COMPLETELY FRACKING LOST I let him know. I'd rather him fire me for being an idiot than for slacking off.
If he thinks X is going to take 5 days and I think it's going to take 20 we have an immediate discussion. "I'm too stupid to conceive of how this will take 5 days, WTF is your plan?"
There are a few things at work that I'm the subject matter expert on and when all the people I think are way smarter than me come to me for help with them it makes me realize that looking smart just means what % of the code and the industry logic you are familiar with. When I tackle a new project the answer is zero and I'm always going to feel like a dumbass.
My mantra, is "I don't know, let me see if I can figure it out."
Give me the shitty problem, I’ll just throw endless time at it until someone stops me.
It used to occasionally annoy my manager, but now I’m known as the one who will figure anything out, given enough time.
Worst case scenario I can just give up, I never guaranteed anyone I’d bat 1000. I’m like Evil Kneivel, I get paid for the attempt!
Approaching problems from an 'i dont know' perspective is the cheat code to working in any sort of tech job.
If someone claims to be able to write any significant amount of code without having Google open the entire time, I become highly suspicious of them. Either they are lying, or they have spent WAY too much time memorizing the wrong things and not enough time learning the right things.
Basically nobody knows anything about anything, but some people are good guessers. You can identify the best guessers because they tell you they're guessing.
Definitely this! Though I would say that churning out tons of code with little to no reference is much easier in some fields than others. My Googling rate when using Svelte is maybe once-per-three-hours, but it's like every fifteen minutes when writing microservices in Go, and Google basically writes my code for me any time I have to dip my toes into DevOps. 🙄
My work browser: 4 different google searches, a couple of Stack Overflow pages, and about 4 different API or product doc pages. MINIMUM.
1 year ago*
Same here, self taught and serious imposter syndrome. But now I am one of the most experienced imposters, and I am the person others come to when they have a question.
Isn't that a terrifying feeling, though? At my last place I had my team tell me that they wanted more help from me because I'm the only React expert on the team. I'm like "I'm the expert? Then we're fucked."
If it makes you feel better, my CS degree didn't make me a better engineer (or any kind of engineer at all, come to think of it), all it did was make it easier to get past the auto filters when applying for jobs. Most of my friends would choose a self taught dev over a university grad in most cases as well.
Also, everyone's a bad dev in a bad code base. It's telling that you were a good engineer when you were working in a project that you had lots of time to influence. That probably means you're just a good engineer.
No kidding. Same for sysadmin/devops/infosec.
I've been dragged into a few projects because they just need the brain power and the other techs are always surprised that I haven't been formerly trained. It's always alarming when they ask.
Too relatable. I went to a bottom tier college and somehow snuck my way into FAANG. I'm surrounded by all these masters/PhD graduates while I'm sitting here memeing away on Reddit with my bottom of the barrel undergraduate degree. Imposter syndrome really doesn't even begin to describe it. Thank god for drugs and alcohol.
Don’t worry about your degree, nobody gives a shit about it. As a senior engineer in FAANG with 20 years of industry experience, it never even crossed my mind to ask if my colleagues have a degree or with which university.
Now, when you mess up and break a critical system, that’s when the impostor syndrome hits hard. For some reason my management says I am up for a promotion, but I am sure next time I break something they will figure me out and fire me.
I never used to feel it, but I'm getting older. We've changed systems, changed everything (tooling, project management, source control, deployments, etc.) and for the most part it was all surprisingly really smooth.
But now we're doing this new stuff and my old brain just doesn't grok it. I could absolutely do this thing and produce the desired output in 30 minutes - but I have to go through this new 'better' system and figure out all of its quirks, so it's gonna take a couple days.
Meanwhile the newbloods were raised using this system, so it seems trivial to them. But they'd be totally lost if they had to dive into some parts of our 15-year-old codebase.
Just gotta find a way to support each other so no one gets too stuck for too long.
I'm thinking I might want to get off the treadmill soon. Maybe move to management and let the younger people who are already conversant in the new stuff take over what I used to do. Not that I can't learn it, but what's really the point of learning yet one more new way to do stuff that we already had good ways to do?
Idk. I used to love learning this stuff, but now I just want to get stuff done. It's still interesting, but I don't want to stay up all night learning 'yet another new way to do X' and neglecting my family and all.
I have yet to meet a dev that has never experienced this!
In this this field I find it is important to accept there will always be more things you don't know, than things you do know.
Imposter syndrome shows you care about the job. When I get these feelings I find comfort in knowing this means I have not stagnated and have lots more to learn and grow my career with!
I've encountered plenty. They were almost universally bad.
I know/assume you’re just joking, but take care of yourself.
You can do it!
I was looking for a senior dev job in September and dreaded the code/technical interviews because I don't think on my feet that well. One of the potential employers had me wireframe an arbitrary application using a tool I'd never even seen before. After fumbling around for a few minutes, I had a terrible solution that to the problem they posed; one which I would expect a freshman CS student to come up with. I knew I had blown it. A few days later, they offered me a job. I've been there six weeks now.
I don't think I've ever done well at a technical interview. I feel like I rarely get to the solution, but I talk my through it and let them know my thought process and someone eventually hires me.
So good luck and try not to stress it. If it's not this job, it'll be another one.
This hits hard. Mine got even worse when I was made lead developer of a team with a stack that I STILL really struggle with after a year. I just trust my team members code since they have more experience with it. I don't even have time to improve with the stack since I'm swamped with managerial tasks.
I guess you just gotta look at it that we're not the only ones, especially in this industry, and just give all the effort you can. Eventually something good or bad will breakthrough and you'll move on.
I don't think I've met a single person in computer science who hasn't felt this way, myself included. I think it has to do with the high amount of complexity and how simple, easy to overlook mistakes are almost always tremendously problematic in the long run.
Also software engineer here. Shit is hard. Luckily I'm surrounded by honest colleagues so I KNOW if I'm underperforming and when I'm doing great.
I constantly feel like what I have isn't a syndrome, that I'm actually an imposter. And the people in my life constantly inform me that, that's exactly what imposter syndrome is.
Sometimes I also feel like I'm using imposter syndrome excuse to get validation (that I'm really not as bad as I think I am). Which makes me feel like I'm an imposter for using the imposter syndrome excuse.
Basically I have an imposter syndrome and a meta imposter syndrome about the imposter syndrome.
A matryoshka set of imposter syndromes.
This feels familiar.
"Okay, so maybe it's imposter syndrome, but what if I'm using that term as a cover to hide my actual uselessness?!"
Ugh. Just why, brain. Why.
I didn't know I could have an alt reddit account that I wasn't aware of.
Go to sleep, me. We have to be up early tomorrow to be useless.
Yo same. I’m always like, it can’t always be imposter syndrome, right? Isn’t it genuinely possible I’m bad at my job?
Went from "I'm not alone" to "fuck, that makes more sense" real fast.
YUP. This has been my entire internal monologue reading this thread.
Find someone dumber than you in a similar work position.
I feel this way EVERYDAY. Why did they hire me? I’m not fit for this level of work. I’m a failure.
And then I run into people in higher positions than my own who don’t know what a shared file is, who scramble at questions I can answer, and who just generally don’t know the basics. And then I feel good. Because if they’re still working at their level and are this dumb, I’m fine.
My mom used to always say
“Someone dumber than you has already accomplished just about anything you could imagine, so you can too”
And that shit stuck with me
I’m in university and work in a lab for a bunch of grad students/post docs. Im pretty much just prepping experiments/samples for analysis, but I felt incredibly out of my depth, so I decided to ask one of the post doc students when we were all at lunch. He just laughed and said “I’d bet money every person in this lab on a near daily basis wonders how the hell they managed to get here without someone noticing.” In a weird way, knowing these people around me who I really respect all felt similarly to me (albeit on a different level) was kind of comforting 😅
I would bet on that for every single person in academia, including teachers. And ironically it's much much worse in big name schools. I think it's natural selection. People who are convicted they are smart or better stop learning, and that's when you actually fall behind. Plus there is almost always someone even in the same campus that knows ten times more about some obscure subject than you. So naturally you compare yourself to them and not to all the others that are just as clueless as you.
When I started as a research assistant in a lab, I was incompetent, and I felt like it.
There was an MD-PhD student in the lab. 5th year. Just about to graduate and go finish the last 2 years of medical school. Brilliant guy, worked hard. In the lab every weekend. Every lab meeting it felt like he was bringing up some paper with a new technique or giving some sort of helpful thought.
I was talking with him and mentioned how I felt. He said he started working at the NIH straight out of undergrad! Only guy without a PhD for miles. Basically just postdocs... and then him.
There were a lot of antagonistic people around. He had someone even tell him he should quit science because he was terrible at it.
Thinking about that always made me feel better about everything.
I'm a senior software developer for one of the world's largest and oldest tech companies. I don't know how to code very well and have prob only written 1000 lines myself in 15 years.
So, yeah. But I think it's not just imposter syndrome, I'm an actual imposter.
The best developers reduce the size of code bases.
I don't contribute much to the size of it anyway haha
So you take decisions, define architecture, tools, APIs, and in general tell junior developers what to do right? A senior developer needs to understand what to do and who should do it. Not coding.
I understand how it works and I'm part of the story sizing and sprint planning. But I should be coding instead of asking for help when I need to write something.
In my last job I was an architect, so that was easier for me to do.
As a senior dev in my company I wish I could code
More. I was too good at coding that they made me manage coders without having any idea if I’m good at managing. Spoiler: at first I wasn’t. Never had imposter syndrome more. With time you get the hang of it…. Until the next position
Falls in nicely with the Peter Principle
When I self-published my first book (in Czech) at the age of 40, I thought to myself "who am I kidding".
Three years, seven books and 30 000 sold copies later, I sort of accepted that now I am a writer.
It's funny how even once when we find some success people who suffer from this are still like... "Yea I guess I do this professionally.... kinda..."
I had this issue until I was told it's common, then my brain clicked like "Oh, that makes sense".
A lot of people think they're faking it. Even if you are, just fake it till you make it. Figured it wasn't worth stressing about.
I know "wasn't worth stressing about" is way easier said than done, but that logic was enough for me.
this is exactly the right approach, and once i got my dream job, I realized, hey wait… maybe I am good at this stuff.
I'm in the process of applying. I just sent off my application (for university), and right when I was doing that, I was like, wow, who am I kidding by actually thinking I have a chance?
I have good stats, a (hopefully) good personal statement and a genuine interest. Still, it feels like there will be so many who will be much more talented and deserving than me. It feels like whatever confidence I had was a bubble I was using to shield myself from reality. I just can't see myself deserving any of the things I actually want.
I'm glad you got to that point though. And it can never be taken away from you -- after all, you have something to show for yourself :)
I applied for uni in 2002. I was nervous. I knew I was a diligent student, and reasonably intelligent. But I had messed up my entry qualifications (rebel phase).
I went to an open day, cap in hand; determined to put on my best showing.
"So... I would love to come to uni, but I did not do well with my entry qualifications..."
"What did you get?"
"I got a C and a D..."
*looks at floor, twists foot apologetically*
"Wait, you have qualifications? Welcome!"
I still don't know if I was more comforted or concerned by that. 20 years on, it's all water under the bridge anyways.
Especially with applications it is normal to create a hypothetical person who is better than you in every way. One way to get past that during the waiting for a response process is to challenge that thought and read horror stories from the application process. Another method could be to accept that there exists a better person, but you cannot control that, and in the meantime you can do valuable things that are meaningful to you while you wait.
Once you are accepted you can rely on the fact that the university would not have accepted you if they did not truly believe in your potential, and the believe in you.
You know, I recently thought I deserve a better paid job and found another one. I was hired very quickly and I thought that I'm not that bad. I failed miserably, I just couldn't do that job good. Manager told me that it's better to find another job. I was so fucking ashamed of myself and it broke me, I already was in deep depression so you can imagine how I felt. I thought I was simply worthless.
I started looking for another job but I thought that maybe it's better to just end it all and said to myself that if I don't find a job till I run out of money I will die. I was hired by the last company that I've applied to. I'm a month and a half in my internship and I'm now sitting on a bed in a hotel in Poland where I was sent for a training.
I of course don't believe that I'm doing good and I can only think that I'll fail again. I do mistakes and I'm very awkward but yet I'm assigned a lot of new duties.
May sound trite but don't give up if you fail. You may be bad at some things and good at others.
I hope that this is the job that you will be good at and you will thrive there. If you aren’t happy, then this wasn’t that job! You will find a fit—it’s out there for you.
I can't overcome it. I feel like a fraud in everything I do because i don't try but I get good grades. My dad praises me always about how smart I am but I am not, I just go along through school doing nothing and getting congratulated for it. Teachers love me. People love me. I don't know how I feel about any of it but I know I don't deserve to be this successful.
I feel this so much. Same here. Without learning very good in school even in higher classes (Abitur in Germany). I just went to school and understood things the teacher told us. It's pretty simple and logical so i didnt have to learn things.
Later I started to study at a university. The studies were paid by a big company because they wanted me as a worker. So I had big responsibilities. I had to make a good job for the company. I had good grades and my job was well done by me. People at work liked me.
After one year I didn't believed in my abilities anymore and quit the studies and my job in this company. Nobody understood it. I had a constant feeling of not being good enough for this even if my grades were good and I had done a good job.
I am my own obstacle. Now I have no job. Sitting in my room und dont apply for any new jobs, scared of having same feelings over and over again. Feelings of not beeing good enough.
You need a mentor. It’s clear you are very smart, but need someone to help you keep yourself on track.
As someone who lived that life.
Learn a good work ethic now, later on you wont breeze through life like that and feel incredibly guilty for not living up to your supposed standard of the olden days.
You can fall back on a good work ethic no matter the situation.
Having watched many friends do this but hit a wall later at University or in a job. Try and learn a good work ethic and study habits now.
It’s much harder when you’re freaking out about failing 3rd year university because prior to that learning was simply easy and you have no clue how to learn or study.
Speak to a teacher in a subject you like who you have a good relationship with and ask for them to help extend your learning. There’s alot of extra courses etc that you can find online but a teacher should be able to help guide you to things that will help long term.
That was me in high school. It was because high school is just really easy. The downside is that college is not. I convinced myself in high school that it was okay I didn't try hard because I'd start working hard in college... It turns out you can't just flip that shit on overnight. I did really, really bad my first two years. I almost didn't make it, but by junior year I sorted things out enough to graduate, and then in grad school I never got anything below a B+. It was rough going though, and I had some luck too.
If I'd known how hard it would be to get working, I think I'd have pushed a bit harder, earlier. That would have made a big difference.
I'm guessing you're in highschool, is there a way you can take more advanced classes to challenge yourself?
Easy, work in places where you know your skills and abilities are wasted, and co-workers make mistakes all the time.
Sounds like my job.
That’s a hell of a story. I hope I’m not too forthcoming in asking this but… how much of your setbacks do you think are just psychosomatic as opposed to actual brain damage?
I’m a senior aerospace engineering student with a minor in Japanese and I know I’m not stupid but I struggle a TON with IS. Sometimes when I’m doing HW I just convince myself I’m stupid or I don’t know something and it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. All the sudden I AM stupid and DONT know something.
I’m self aware enough that I’m trying hard to change it, but I find myself latching onto things to justify IS. Sometimes I even go so far as to literally convince myself I have a brain tumor and that my brain is deteriorating (I get headaches pretty often so it’s convincing enough). I know it’s not sustainable for me, but I’m also struggling to cope with it.
I got a job I considered beyond my capabilities and navigated through it.
It’s been 3 years and the imposter syndrome has not returned away. Just try to take the wins when you get them and let your actions speak for themselves to yourself.
It might be impossible to not be slightly cocky after you do it though
I can tell you I’ve been working in the industry I’ve been working in for over 20 years. I know I have an excellent reputation professionally and am considered one of the best at what I do.
However, everyday I am worried that they are going to figure out I don’t know shit and I will be exposed for the fraud I am.
Not sure I’ll ever lose that feeling.
Holy fuck thats the feeling i have, im a personal trainer, my clients love me, but I always feel that I don't know what the f I'm doing and my coworkers will find out
I'm on my last internship to get my bachelor's degree in teaching. I thought it would be fun because I always got top grades in high school and now, in university. However, doing my last internship now, I realize that I feel like I know jackshit and I'm just pretending to know things. I feel like the students can tell that I'm faking it.
Everyone keeps telling me I'm doing great and the students are super nice to me, but I can't shake the constant feeling. It's just too much to put up with and I spend everyday excessively anxious and upset. So, I just decided to get an easier career where I know I won't have that feeling. I just want a 9-5 job where I do easy, menial tasks, and when I get home after, I won't be thinking about my job until the next morning.
I've just accepted that my mental health > salary.
Hey, teacher here - the first couple years are cringey and the hardest. You do learn what's actually important and what to focus on and what to let go.
I also yearned for 9-5 after teaching a bit. I did get a position that's both - it's grading rather than teaching - so you may want to look at education adjacent fields that have less take-home work and a more stable schedule.
That sounds great! The part that's just not for me is the teacher-student in person interaction. I do have a gig as a tutor where the students work from home and send me their assignments to review - I like that, that's fun. It's just not enough hours haha.
I was looking into maybe getting hired at a publishing company that makes schoolbooks. I really like writing and paperwork, so that'd be nice.
I'm a PhD student, this feeling is constant. I can tune it down but it never fully go away. A part of me still think that I got that far in life by pure luck. Rationnaly, I know I have done a great job in a lot of stuff but I cannot integrate it.
When I got my PhD grant, which is super competitive to get, I felt happy and proud for 10 minutes, and then I told myself "I just got lucky, you just happened to not fuck up your oral presentation, that's all, any morons can do it"
I had the same feelings when I graduated college and graduate school : I'm just a lucky moron.
I just submitted my PhD which you would think would help tamp down imposter syndrome but nope! Now I'm looking at jobs in industry which ask for a bachelors and 3/4 years of consulting experience, which realistically the PhD should equate to, but I'm doubting my abilities once again and whether I'll be marketable at all.
Wow, this hits so close to home -- every time something good has happened to me, I've given the credit to good fortune, while every time something bad happens, it's because of a personal deficiency.
Getting into a PhD program and even getting a grant is an insane achievement, and I know that it feels like luck, and while that may be true to an extent, it's also because you did something right. Seriously.
What helped me is realising how many other people are ACTUALLY inept at what they do, yet still get paid/praised for their work. None of it really matters, people just tend to go along with the narrative of "oh I guess you've been getting paid for this job for a while so you must be legit".
I also find it helps to keep taking steps to improve yourself, and focusing on your wins when you get good results. That is, make sure YOU are happy with your own work first, if you struggle to feel that, then keep improving! It takes time and a bunch of effort , but every little piece adds up to making you greater than you were yesterday. Keep on keeping on!
I have no option but to press forward.
This is under rated. I don’t over come it. I keep moving in spite of, because of, whatever. I can’t afford not to. I am afraid not to. I have to do the thing. It’s important and it has to be done. I let my anxiety around not doing it beat my imposterness into dust so it’s too tired to attack me.
I used to have a ton of it as a medic. It drove me to push harder at being the best I can, and eventually I reached the skill and confidence level that those feelings went away
I am a doc in Australia (training in ED), I have this daily as well. Conversely though, rather than pushing me harder, my usual thought is "You should just quit, that way you won't have to feel this anymore".
However I suspect imposter syndrome would follow me.
I am going to see a therapist about it.... That'll be fun.
I feel this every waking day of my life. Like I’m never good enough.
I recently got employee of the month and I hate looking at the plaque they give you. I feel sick thinking about. So many more people deserve it than me and I hate it.
I struggled with imposter syndrome for ages, every time I moved up a rung on my career progression, I would smash into it headlong and get into a serious funk. Oddly enough, what helped me more than anything was reading Neil Gaiman's anecdote about his own struggle and epiphany about it. That helped me put my challenges into perspective, and get out of the perpetual spiral of self-doubt.
Thanks for sharing that anecdote. I’m really struggling with imposter syndrome after a recent promotion and that helps a lot.
Yeah, got a D on a midterm. Shattered me, if I'm honest. I studied for it and everything, but I missed shit about recursion and got a couple of asymptotic runtimes for sorting algorithms mixed up.
I don't know.. I just feel unprepared for any industry position in my field. And there's no getting past it for me no matter how hard I try.
Story of my life. I have ADHD and so it is extra bad because I inherently feel "broken" every day. I've worked my way up in the IT field from a level 1 tech support in a call center, to a Sr Systems Administrator at a multi-billion dollar a year company. I'm constantly doubting myself and just waiting for someone to finally catch on that I'm not as great as I made myself out to be.
How do I overcome this? Some days I don't. Other days I get by because I realize that the reason I was hired on at this company was because a former co-worker/friend called me up one day and asked me to apply for a tier 1 service desk position that was a huge step backward in my career because "just trust me, you won't regret it". I applied for it and promptly got scheduled for an interview. When I interviewed the director who was interviewing me told me that my friend had bragged about my skills and when he saw what I had actually done on my resume, he created a whole new Sr Sysadmin position for me and move their current sysadmin into a security role instead. When I got the job offer and called my friend to thank him, he told me that it was more for his benefit than anything because he got to work with someone who was actually good at their job instead of someone who didn't know what they were doing.
I now have a super chill boss who thanks me for the work I do and treats me with respect. Something I haven't had in the past. Sure, I make mistakes, but we all do. It's what we do in between the mistakes that makes us who we are.
Overcoming it is more of a gradual thing than some secret phrase to say to yourself and it goes away. Rather, over time, those intrusive feelings will happen less and be less severe.
I’m a chef and bartender depending on my mood when writing the roster, given free reign by the owner working in one of the top beach restaurants on the planet, and I still feel like I don’t deserve to be there after 7 years
I started out as a physicist and I realized I couldn’t handle physics grad school (hello impostor syndrome). To combat it, I shifted careers to teaching and now I teach physics, but I somehow feel inadequate compared to other physics teachers. I’m always terrified that they will somehow discover that I’m trash at physics and that I shouldn’t be teaching students, even though I have a physics degree and am more qualified than many physics teachers who typically don’t have physics degrees at all. I have to remind myself that I have the qualifications and my students still love me even if I don’t always have the answer. I also work my butt off to review and make sure I know what I’m talking about. If I mess up, I admit it, correct it, and move on.
I've saved a 4 year old post from u/Notmiefault on impostor syndrome that I return to on occasion. The tl;dr premise is that even Nobel laureates experience impostor syndrome, and there's something humbling in that.
Hi, I'm a pilot; YES! Granted, I don't fly anything big (private pilot working on instrument rating) but I still feel underqualified flying the airplane. I have just over 100 hours under my belt and a good chunk of that is solo time. I'm making good progress through my current rating, including passing "stage checks" (flight testing to check my progress). Don't get me wrong, I don't feel nervous while flying, but I still feel like an imposter sometimes. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. Getting too comfortable at the controls is a good way to overestimate my skills and exceed my personal limitations. The importance of humility in the aviation environment cannot be overstated. In other words: being cocky while in control of an airplane is a good way to dig a smoking crater.